Barring some earth-shaking change of events that involves Saint Michael and the Four Horsemen, I’m not voting for president this year. I do my best not to cooperate with evil and evil is all that is on the top ballot spot for both major political parties. The extant third parties are so loonie that I’ll not cast a vote an inadvertently be responsible for giving them permanent ballot access. In a year that should have been a triumph for conservatives of all stripes, a year in which we filled the primaries with some of the most qualified, thoughtful, articulate, and conservative candidates in the history of the republic, we have seen the GOP hijacked by an unrepentant charlatan.
What has been more disgraceful is seeing people that I’ve supported selling their integrity as though it was a Blue Light Special at K-Mart… only cheaper.
It all started with the collapse of the Evangelical movement as popularly recognized. Back in January, Jerry Falwell, Jr., endorsed Donald Trump. He told his flock and followers that it didn’t make any difference that Trump was a liar or a serial adulterer or that he had cheated workmen of their wages or brought about the financial ruin of small businesses or flim-flammed the gullible out of their money for a Trump University degree. Render unto Caeser, mother****er, was what Falwell proposed. We don’t need a pastor we need a savior.
This was a disappointment, but, as I wrote at the time, not a huge surprise. The American Evangelical movement has been around long enough that it has accrued those barnacles that attach themselves to Catholicism and Mainline Protestantism, the “cultural” members who have jettisoned the baggage of beliefs that were just too hard in favor of modernity, but who have retained an attraction to the superficial artifices of faith and worship.
When Trump turned on actual Evangelicals, such as Bob Vander Platts and Russell Moore,
.@drmoore Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2016
and engaged in the most rank forms of calumny one can imagine, you found virtually no one defending them. That should have been the danger sign, the canary in the coal mine, for the rest of us.
Even so, the one safe area from Trumpism should have been the pro-life movement and other aspects of social conservatism. Trump has encouraged at least one former mistress to get an abortion. He believes Planned Parenthood does “good things.” He is so dismissive of the current fight to keep our children safe in restrooms that he invited Bruce Jenner to take a leak in one of his buildings (at the time Jenner was still claiming to be a woman, that has since changed and will probably change several more times before we forget who this mentally unstable person is).
But, in the same way that the bubonic plague moved across Europe, Trumpism has now spread to the pro-life movement and other parts of the social conservative sphrere. In fact, today, the New York Times runs a story that essentially marks the end of social conservatism in the United States: Social Conservatives, However Reluctant, Are Warming to the Idea of Trump
Though their support for Mr. Trump is often qualified, this change of heart is one of the more remarkable turns in an erratic and precedent-defying Republican campaign. It reflects the sense among many Republicans that, flawed as they may see him, the thrice-married billionaire is preferable to the alternative.
“Oh, my, it’s difficult,” said Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, a group that has openly campaigned against Mr. Trump. “He’s not my first choice. He’s not my second choice,” she added. “But any concerns I have about him pale in contrast to Hillary Clinton.”
In him, they see a convert to their cause, not a transgressor.
The support of social conservatives is not just symbolic. It means getting assistance from groups that plan to spend millions of dollars mobilizing voters, people who lead influential faith-based organizations and Republican activists who will help craft the party’s platform at the national convention this summer.
“Didn’t know we’d be here,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group. Ms. Dannenfelser began the year in Iowa with a group of other politically active conservative women like Ms. Nance who tried to stop Mr. Trump because, as they said at the time, he “disgusted” them.
Now, as Ms. Dannenfelser contemplates the possibility of the next president appointing one or more justices to the Supreme Court, she said, “My feelings about him, whether I’m happy or not happy about how he speaks, doesn’t matter an iota.”
The Susan B. Anthony List is planning to spend $6 million to $8 million this year on a nationwide campaign, including hundreds of canvassers to knock on doors for Mr. Trump. “It’s more about rationality overcoming feelings than anything else,” Ms. Dannenfelser said.
And anytime and anywhere there is a chance to mix religion and smarm and toss in a nice whiff of corruption you will find Ralph Reed:
“They love a convert because it’s what their faith is all about,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition and a friend of Mr. Trump.
“Contrary to the stereotype that is often assigned to them by the larger culture,” Mr. Reed added, “evangelicals are far more forgiving and extend far more mercy to political figures and others than is understood.”
This “convert,” and I gag at the use of that term when applied to Trump, is one of the most unusual converts in the history of Christianity:
Moderator Frank Luntz asked Trump whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness for his actions.
“I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so,” he said. “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”
Trump said that while he hasn’t asked God for forgiveness, he does participate in Holy Communion.
“When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said. “I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.’”
“I try and lead a life where I don’t have to ask God for forgiveness,” Trump said. “Why do I have to ask for forgiveness if you’re not making mistakes? I work hard, I’m an honorable person.”
As far as I am concerned this marks an end to social conservatism as a movement in American politics. No one who supports Donald Trump can ever again claim to be concerned about the morality of any issue whatsoever. Trump is an utterly amoral man who believes in nothing but what he wants. He embodies the Seven Deadly Sins. Neither the Susan B. Anthony List nor any other group has to work for Trump. There are hundreds, thousands, of candidates up for election that a) oppose abortion and b) have not led dissipated lives. Electing those people would mitigate the harm caused when either one of the evil options at the top of the ticket. What they are doing is currying favor with a future Trump administration.
Trump, in co-opting social conservative organizations has done something that neither Obama nor even George Bush was able to do. He has let them convince themselves that they can sacrifice their core principles to assist in his election and will not be beholden to him in the future. Where people of faith have led the resistance to government overreach under Obama, these same organizations will be on the opposite side of the fight under a President Trump who will be every bit as dictatorial and rapacious as Obama.
In the future, I will not donate time, talent, or treasure to any group that is so corrupt and unprincipled that it would actively assist in the election of one of the two malignant narcissistic sociopaths running for president this year.
There is a pattern here.
Donald Trump completely corrupts anyone who gets close to him or assists him in any way. He will be no better on judges or regulation or any other issue than Hillary Clinton. His economic policies are calculated to damage the US economy. His foreign policy guaranteed to strip away our allies before leading us into war. By harnessing themselves to Donald Trump, these organizations have lost the ability to criticize the evil that Trump represents. Here Trump has done something that Barack Obama could only dream of doing. He has destroyed the social conservative movement in the United States.